I must confess. I felt a twinge of envy last Sunday. As Scott worked his way through Genesis 15, verse 15 got my attention. There God promises Abram this: you shall be buried in a good old age. I immediately wondered if, among all the other stupendous promises Moses received from the Lord with that fascinating cutting of the covenant experience, he really appreciated that one very much. Did he sigh with relief that he didn’t have to worry about a premature demise and all the issues related to not living out a full length of days? I wonder.
I envy him for that promise. I do especially on this day, the seventh anniversary of my five-hour long surgery to remove cancer from my tongue, the month-long recuperation that followed, and ultimately the summer-long treatment process I endured. Those memories on top of attending three funerals in the last couple of weeks of men all of whom died in their fifties have me thinking much about the brevity of life and the lack of guarantee anyone has that tomorrow won’t be his last.
The truth I bring to bear on my fight with envy comes from Psalm 116:15. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. The Psalmist wrote this on the heels of some great deliverance that snatched him from the jaws of death. He concluded that for the believer God regards the precise timing of his death, whether in the prime of life or a ripe old age, as precious. The Hebrew word means weighty, valuable, or costly as in the price of a precious stone. In other words, it’s no insignificant thing in God’s eyes. It matters immensely when He takes one of His own out of this world to his home in the next.
So as I ponder God’s goodness today in giving me seven more years of service for Him that I might not otherwise have enjoyed, I choose to fight the envy of Moses who likely dismissed worry about an early demise with confidence in God who regards my/our termination so supremely significant that there will be nothing in the least untimely about it.